While the crowds were enjoying the many splendid fireworks around London on New Year's Eve, there were some people not looking at the sky exploding with colour and going 'Ooooh!' but instead looking at wounds, blood pressure monitors and puddles of sick. The London Ambulance Service and St John Ambulance teams were working through the busiest New Year's Eve celebrations since the Millennium Eve night and between them dealt with 1,825 calls.
With a lot of previous experience of New Year's Eve chaos and madness to draw on, the directors of operations had enough forethought to provide 13 temporary treatment centres, alternative response vehicles for minor cases which meant ambulances could be prioritised for the major ones and lots of emergency services staff on foot with medical equipment strapped to their backs.
Tom Reynolds' Random Acts of Reality blog is illuminating, giving us a glimpse of what it was like on the streets and how it felt to be walking against the post-fireworks crowd trying to get to someone in distress. There was apparently more than one happy reveller who thought the jumpsuit and massive backpack and determined stride meant the Ghostbusters had arrived. The comment from Thor, a St Johns Ambulance chap is also a good read.
While we hope you and your loved ones didn't need to use the emergency services on the big night, we're pleased that there was enough planning and enough good people to provide help for those who did. We raise our glasses one more time at the tail-end of the festive season, to the London Ambulance Service and St Johns Ambulance service. Cheers!